It’s Monday Grace!
I know someone who has a secret Facebook name. Under that name, he can post controversial things, criticize others, and admit to thoughts and actions he would never admit in real life. He calls it his “alter-ego.”
My kids have mocked Batman by saying, “Hey, wanna know my secret identity?” Almost every super-hero has a secret identity. Two identities. Really?
No. If you choose your alter-ego, it is just an extension of who you are, just a revelation of that which you keep hidden. If you have a secret identity, it is still you. It’s just one you don’t want the people around you to know.
It is possible, of course, to have a false identity. Many people are not what they portray themselves to be. One of the most amazing things I encountered in my experience with legalism was how people would claim to be one thing while really being another. Some could look you right in the eyes and lie about their values and perspectives. A false identity was promoted and valued, while the real person hid thoughts and actions. The only thing real about the false identity was the real person’s desire to deceive.
No, that’s not the same as having two identities. It is not possible to have two identities. The truth is that any portrayal of yourself contrary to who you really are is either deception or confusion. You are who you are.
I am who I am. God said that to Moses. The first law of logic is the law of identity. Whatever the subject, it is what it is. It cannot be something else. God is who He is. He exists as Himself. That simply means that He is real.
And so are you. You are who you are. The term “identity” comes from a Latin root that means to repeat, to say or do the same thing again and again. My mom, when we played cribbage, used to say, “No matter how many times you count it, you won’t get more points.” It is what it is.
So, how can a person have a new identity? The Bible makes it clear that we have a new identity in Jesus. We are not what we used to be. We are not who we used to be.
Some people teach that believers have two natures, one good and one bad. Sometimes the good wins, and sometimes the bad wins, they say. There is nothing in Scripture to support that, and it doesn’t even make logical sense.
No, we are one identity. You are who you are. But, listen: you can forget who you are and fall back to what has become a false identity.
At the end, in the day of judgment, you will find that you are and have been only one person with only one nature. Because of Jesus, there is no sin defining you. You are inseparably connected to Jesus because His life flows in you. There is no other life in you, just His. Somehow, you are still you, but the life in you is His.
Yes, this is a mystery, but it is also an amazing blessing. It simply means that I am not what the world sees, with my compromises and failures. Even when I do things that are called sin, I remain inseparably defined by my relationship with Jesus. Nothing can change that.
What happened is described in Scripture.
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
When we were united with Jesus, we went to the cross with Him and died with Him. Then we rose with Him to new life. We are, in fact, new creations—new identities.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Simple, right? Well, not really. In fact, it is an unfathomable mystery. But it is true.
And no matter how many times you look at yourself, you are still that new person in Jesus. You are who you are.
So, don’t let anyone tie you to your sinful past. That isn’t who you are. And don’t even let anyone tie you to the sinful acts you do today. That is just you forgetting who you really are.